Ageing multiplies the chance of infertility, but the ratio of women impregnating in their mid or late-life is doubled since the 1990s. Pregnancy over 40 can cause a higher risk of stillbirth, and the newborn is more likely to have chromosome abnormalities. After you cross the age of 35, the quality and quantity of oocytes (egg cell) decrease substantially, which reduces the chances of pregnancy. When you hit 35 the possibilities of miscarriage increases by 33%, regardless of these imminences and risks, healthy women can enjoy pregnancy in their 40s and 50s, same as a young woman. A lot of people wait till they are mature enough for parenthood, and financially stable to raise their children well.
Risks in pregnancy over 40
It’s tough to get pregnant over 40, and this is undoubtedly the well-known part of the ageing-equation. Fertility starts dropping notably around 35. Definitely today’s technology like in vitro fertilization can help in getting pregnant at any age, but even these efforts can result in no fertility. Pregnant women over 40s are most likely to face more complications than younger women. Complications can be like:
- Cardiovascular problems
- High blood pressure
- Placental problem
- Birth complication
- Gestation Diabetes (linked with a big baby)
- Caesarean birth
- Downs syndrome (a genetic condition)
Pregnancy over 40 can cause the baby to grow in the wrong place instead of growing in the uterus/womb due to its bigger size. This is why pregnancy over 40 is considered risky. However, not all the women over 40 face these complications, and healthy women have a healthy pregnancy and healthy babies in their old age as well. But there are some specific things that pregnant women over 40 should be careful about.
Ensure a healthy pregnancy
A balanced diet during pregnancy is highly recommended. It can reduce the chances of nausea and constipation as well. Proteins fruits, vegetables and necessary supplements can lead to a healthy birth.
Vitamins and folic acid supplements
To be very specific, Vitamin D is reasonably necessary as it plays a role in bone metabolism. You can intake oily fish and eggs as a source of vitamin D.
Quit drugs, smoking
If you don’t quit smoking during pregnancy, then your child is more likely to have severe health problem throughout their lives. Smoking can cause mouth and lip diseases to an unborn.
Try to see a midwife or a Dr on a regular basis
They will make sure that no problem arises and will help you stay healthy. The rules of pregnancy care for women over 40 are the same as for a younger pregnant lady.
Pros of pregnancy over 40
Researchers have revealed some surprising benefits of being an older mommy. You can enjoy your relationship to the extreme and plan a baby when you are mentally, physically, financially prepared to raise a child. Well known Researchers are significantly appreciating pregnancy over 40. Becoming an older mom can boost your brain and release stress. Listing out a few surprising perks of parenting in later life.
- Lower cognitive decline (Karim R, et al. 2016)
- Longer life span (Sun F, et al. 2015)
- Better scores, good educational outcomes (Barclay k, et al. 2016)
Cons of pregnancy over 40
The risk for complications
The risk for complications increases as you age. The difficulties can be crucial for both mother and child. To put these complications into perspective, researchers spoke about the specific issues that may arise with pregnancy over 40. Stillbirth and miscarriage can happen at all ages, but the possibility increases by 3x as you age. Evidence and research analysis suggest that pregnancy over 40 is at high risk of miscarriage.
The risk for breast cancer
The risk for breast cancer is the most shocking part of the complications during pregnancy over 40. Dr Louise, PhD, spoke about this at the National Cancer Institute. He mentioned that as you age, the cells continuously change, and a heavy dose of hormones can turn those cells into cancer. Women who become a parent after 35 is slightly at higher risk of developing cancer cells than the women who became a mom in her 20s. In 2018 an extensive study was published; for instance, that study revealed, 2.2% of the women developed cancer who became parent between the ages 34 to 47. The subsequent research was confusing enough to mystify or puzzle things further. Hazel Nichols, associate professor and PhD scholar, one of the authors of the study in 2018, mentioned that the risk of breast cancer could be balanced by having more children in later life. But make sure you are screened regularly, and your Dr is very well aware of that risk.
Final words to wrap it up
Is it good or bad to try to get pregnant over 40? The ratio of women getting pregnant in their mid or late-life is increasing spontaneously. Once you hit 35 the chances of pregnancy is only 5% as a result of a steady decline in oocytes. Today’s advance reproductive technology is helping ultimately to get pregnant at any age. Of course, there is a possibility to get pregnant over 40, but you are supposed to consult a Dr and explain all the risk factors before planning a baby at this stage. They will make sure that no problem arises and will help you stay healthy.
- Nurture Written by Erica Chidi
- Expecting Better written by Emily Oster